A Comparison Of Emma And Emma By Jane Austen

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Emma and jane Fairfax
Jane’s situation in life is much grimmer than Emma’s, and represents the faith of many women at her time. Being an orphan meant that if Jane does not marry, she must become a governess, because she lacks any money of her own. While Emma can afford to practice feminine activities such as drawing, only for the sake of impressing the people surrounding her, and act as coquet to receive male attention, for Jane, attracting a respectable man and marrying him is the only way to have a decent life. Accordingly, she excels in many talents a young lady of those times was supposed to have.
Despite being inferior to Emma in social standing, thus not representing a real threat to her social standing, it not surprising Emma takes an immediate dislike towards her. Although described as possessing “very pleasing beauty” (161), it is not Jane’s attractiveness that threatens Emma’s position, but her preeminent talent and elegance which “received every advantage of discipline and culture” (158). For that reason, Emma has no trouble nurturing Harriet the “sweet, docile” (23), while feeling such disdain towards Jane, although their circumstances are very much alike.
This observation is parallel to Riviere’s psychoanalytic outline of a successful, intelligent woman, seeking to integrate into a social network dominated by men, in regard to her relationship with other women “since she reached womanhood, her rivalry with women had been more acute in regard to intellectual
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